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WAMI Youth Peer Court

"They have been proven to reduce recidivism rates, increase community engagement, and make prominent restorative justice models. "

ABOUT

WAMI’s Youth Peer Court program is the one and only youth court in Connecticut. Youth courts are a restorative justice-based alternative to the traditional juvenile criminal legal system where teenagers act as the judges, jurors, victim advocates, and attorneys. Youth courts divert misdemeanor cases that would otherwise be tried by juvenile court, traffic court, or a school disciplinary board. High schoolers and college students are the attorneys, judges, and jury members in youth courts. Youth juries determine the sentences, often a certain number of community service hours, along with essays, counseling, or a requirement to serve on the youth court jury in the future. They have been proven to reduce recidivism rates, increase community engagement, and make prominent restorative justice models. 

WHY IS THIS PROJECT IMPORTANT?

Our youth peer court program is based in Bridgeport, CT. We work with student volunteers from the community and have close partnerships with high schools in Bridgeport, who, rather than treating their students with regressive punishment methods such as suspensions and detentions, allow us to utilize restorative justice and community directed service. Our youth peer court model has been advised by other courts in New York, as well as the CT Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee.

"They have been proven to reduce recidivism rates, increase community engagement, and make prominent restorative justice models. "

Our Work

  • Wrote Introductory letters for students, schools, courts, police, and the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee.

  • Met with entities such as the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee and the Center for Justice Innovation.

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